‘Go and enjoy it’ urges skipper

Matt Cooke has urged Rye to go out and enjoy their rugby during the second half of their Sussex One campaign
Matt Cooke has urged Rye to go out and enjoy their rugby during the second half of their Sussex One campaign

Matt Cooke has urged Rye to enjoy their rugby as they prepare to return to action.

The New Roaders will come back from the festive break with a trip to Hove II tomorrow (Saturday) hoping the second half of their season will be a good deal better than the first.

Injured Rye captain Cooke said: “We’ve got to go out there and enjoy ourselves, and see where it takes us. If we enjoy it, we’ll then start to see the performances improve as a result.

“We want to just give people a reason to play rugby, play with your mates and enjoy it. The result is not the be all and end all. There’s no point beating ourselves up.

“Without these people turning up Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, the rugby club wouldn’t exist and we’ve got to get some enjoyment out of it.”

Rye are still searching for their first victory of the Sussex One campaign having followed an opening day draw at home to Crowborough II with 10 consecutive defeats.

“The first half of the season was pretty dire,” continued Cooke. “Although we’re bottom of the league, hopefully we can sneak a win here or there. We’ve been starting to score tries the last few games we’ve played and it’s within our capabilities to score tries against these good sides.”

Tomorrow’s game against third-bottom Hove is a rearranged fixture having originally been postponed on Saturday December 13 and it will be Rye’s first outing since a week prior to that.

“Some people might say we’ll be short of match practice, but we’ll certainly be refreshed and keen to make a bit of a mark in the second half of the season, if only to ourselves and not necessarily on the league,” Cooke went on.

“We’ve got to be realistic with our expectations, and go out there and give ourselves an honest 80-minute performance. At the end of the day it’s 15 against 15 and as long as we put up a decent account of ourselves on the day, you can’t ask for much more than that.”

Rye failed to raise a side for their final scheduled fixture of 2014 away to unbeaten leaders Eastbourne on Saturday December 20, but Cooke says availability is looking considerably better for the opening match of 2015.

“It looks as though numbers are quite good for Saturday,” added Cooke, speaking ahead of Tuesday night’s scheduled training session. “Hopefully with a decent squad we can go over there and give them a run for their money.

“Stand-in captain Alfie Chapman’s done a very good job rallying people over the last few days. It’s difficult to motivate players when you’re losing, but I think everybody’s taken the message on board that we’ve all got to stick together now.”